Jordan Gilkison becomes first amateur golfer in 44 years to win Ohio Open


Courtesy of the Northern Ohio Pro Golfers Association

Jordan Gilkison with the Ohio Open trophy.

Gianna Cicchi, Reporter

Jordan Gilkison almost never checked the standings while he played in a golf tournament, but that changed at the Ohio Open in June. As he approached the last hole, the scoreboard was right in front of him.

“I had no choice but to look,” Jordan, sophomore business analytics major and golfer, said. “I had a two-shot lead and it was reassuring that all I had to do was make par. So I was confident and relaxed throughout the last hole.”

Jordan made his par and won, becoming the first amateur in 44 years and the third Kent State golfer to win the tournament. KSU alum Rob Moss won in 2001 and 2005, while Danny Sahl won in 2006.

“This is a huge honor,” Jordan said. “They are both very good golfers that have went through this program, and it’s pretty special to have my name up there with them.”

Leading up to the tournament, Jordan had a strong week of practice and stayed in his apartment to practice at Kent State’s facility early Saturday morning.

New champ Jordan Gilkison and 3-time past champ Bob Sowards shake hands after play. (Courtesy of the Northern Ohio Pro Golfers Association)

“I just wanted to play golf like I always do,” Jordan said.

KSU men’s golf coach Jon Mills said Gilkison has been a motivated player from the moment he enrolled.

“The big thing with him was he never complains and just keeps working hard,” Mills said. “So when a kid does that, it’s going to pay off. As a coach, you sit back, and you know it’s going to happen.”

Josh, Jordan’s brother, finished his fifth year at Kent State in spring and is going on to pro golf in the fall. He tied for fourth in the Ohio Open.

“We have been playing against each other, even with our older brother ever since Jordan was able to swing a club. So for him, playing with older kids helped him get better a lot faster,” Josh said. “I was really proud of him for winning.”

Jordan learned a lot from his teammates over the past two years.

“Trying to compete with them was definitely a big help,” Jordan said. “Everyone reached out after the tournament to congratulate me, so I know they are rooting for me, and I’m rooting for them.”

Gianna Cicchi is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]